July 19, 2016

Medical Cannabis Terminology

Confused about the difference between a dispensary or clinic? How about the difference between indica or sativa? Cannabis terminology can be confusing so we’ve developed a list of commonly used terms and their explainations.


Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds unique to cannabis that act upon the human body’s cannabinoid receptors, producing various effects which may benefit patients. Cannabis’ primary cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (See THC below for a description), which is responsible for the psychoactive effects (or the high). There are over 85 known cannabinoids with varying effects.


Cannabis is a plant genus that produces three species of flowering plants: Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Ruderalis. All three species can be used to produce medical cannabis.


CBD is the abbreviation of cannabidiol, one of at least 85 cannabinoids found in cannabis, and is the second most prevalent cannabinoid after THC. Research has shown that CBD produces a physical effect without the psychoactive effects (the high) associated with THC.


Edibles and medibles are medicated edible goods that have been infused with cannabis extracts. Often you can get medibles in the form of baked goods such as cookies and brownies, flavored drinks, breads, candies and more. Dispensaries also often sell cannabis-infused butters or oils for patients or consumers to make their own edibles. Because you are consuming edibles, the active components from the extracts may take long to take effect than other delivery methods since the cannabinoids first must be absorbed through the digestive system.


Dispensary is a general term used to refer to any location where a patient or consumer can legitimately and safely access cannabis, whether the business is technically an access point, pick-up location. co-op, collective or any other version of a legall cannabis distributor.


Indica is the less scientific name for the Cannabis indica species of cannabis. Indica plants tend to be shorter, bushier and have more compact flower structure.


Marihuana is the general term for female cannabis plants or their dried flowers. Females are distinct from male plants in that they produce flowers containing a high percentage of cannabinoids. “Marihuana” is the spelling that appears in Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and is used by Health Canada in legal documents related to the Act.

Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR)

Canadian government regulations that allow approved and licensed patients to possess and use cannabis to treat specific medical illnesses or conditions. As of March 31, 2014, the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations was repealed and replaced by the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (see below).

Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR)

Canadian government regulations replacing the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) as of March 31, 2014. Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) allow licensed cannabis producers to provide patients with dried cannabis for medical purposes. To participate, a patient must have a health care practitioner complete a medical document to be submitted to the licensed producer along with a completed registration form. As of April 1, 2014, MMPR is the only legal means for Canadians to acquire medical cannabis.


Sativa is the less scientific name for the cannabis sativa species of cannabis plant. In general, these plants originated outside of the Middle East and Asia and include strains that are from areas such as South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Thailand. These strains tend to grow taller as plants (usually over 5 feet), are lighter in color and take longer to flower. When consumed, sativas tend to produce more cerebral effects as opposed to physical and sedative ones.


THC is the abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol. It is the most well-known and most abundantly available cannabinoid in marijuana plants. THC is also the component in marijuana that is responsible for the psychoactive effects, or the “high.” Research has shown THC to be an effective medical treatment for a range of conditions.


A topical is a type of cannabis product where the active properties of the flowers have been extracted and added to a product such as a lotion or a cream that can be applied to the skin. The medicinal properties are absorbed through the skin and can be used to treat muscle aches, long term soreness, or ailments like dry skin.


A vaporizer is a device used to consume marijuana by heating flowers or oils to a temperature that produces a cannabinoid-laced vapor to inhale. Vaporizing is thought to be healthier than smoking since there is no smoke to ingest, but this method still produces near instant effects.